With waters reaching 70 percent of the total area, the fisheries sector is one of Indonesia's leading economic potentials. However, based on study data in the last 5 years, many deep-sea fishery species are currently under the point of sustainability or nearing functional extinction. The main factor is fishing that exceeds the sustainable limit. One solution to overcome this is to encourage certification and ecolabeling as instruments to support the sustainability of the fishing industry.
This was discussed in the webinar “Thought Leadership Forum: Encouraging Certification and Ecolabelling for a Sustainable Fisheries Industry” organized by Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) on Thursday, November 25, 2021. This online discussion presented speakers, namely the Director of Fish Resource Management, Directorate General Capture Fisheries Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DJPT KKP) Trian Yunanda, Chairman of the National Commission for the Assessment of Fish Stocks (National Commission for the Assessment of Fish Resources) Indra Jaya, Purchasing Manager of Indonesia Anova Food USA Bas Zaunbrecher, Marketing Director of PT. Inti Lautan Fajar Abadi Lenny Danuseputro, Director of the YKAN Peter Mous Sustainable Fisheries Program, and guided by journalist and presenter Rahma Alia.
“The Indonesian government has stated its commitment to support the sustainability of the fisheries sector by developing a measured fishing policy. Measured fishing policies in Indonesia are built with ecological and economic considerations in mind. This is an implementation of the blue economy concept. The main principle is the efficiency of natural resources, a balance of economic and social values as well as being environmentally friendly and sustainable,” explained the Director of Fish Resources Management of the DGT KKP Trian Yunanda.
This commitment is supported in particular by the Fish Improvement Project (FIP) partnership scheme or fisheries improvement program that encourages the involvement of the private sector in sustainable fisheries management. This program scheme is also supported by scientific innovations that have been developed by YKAN, namely the Crew-Operated Data Recording System (CODRS) which can address the challenge of lack of data on demersal (deep sea) fisheries in Indonesia. With CODRS, fishery data is collected by fishermen by taking photos of the fish caught and then submitted and verified by field officers for identification as a database. Through CODRS, data on fishing practices in Indonesia can be tracked to avoid overexploitation.
“In the last 5 years the CODRS data collection approach has lifted Indonesia's demersal fisheries from a data shortage condition, to become one of the best fisheries data collection models in the world. Along with that, currently all relevant stakeholders in the fisheries sector have begun to be active in the development of National Fishery Management Plans and fisheries utilization strategies for each Fishery Management Area (WPP). The private sector is also encouraged to join FIPs that are committed to making fisheries sustainable, using actionable information by species and leading to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification,” explained YKAN Director of Sustainable Fisheries Program Peter Mous.
The head of the National Commission for the Assessment of Fish Resources Indra Jaya emphasized the importance of integrating digital technology in fisheries data collection. “To get quality data, we must take advantage of technological developments. This effort is important in order to support a fast and accurate assessment, so that adaptive management can be carried out,” explained Indra. Indra also added about the importance of traceability. Because from there, the supporting factors can be determined to assist the certification and ecolabel process and to support the assessment of fish stocks.
Importance of certification in the fishing industry
The importance of certification in the fishing industry is recognized by business people in this sector. “Certification such as MSC is a global standard to ensure traceability of fishery products. With the certification, it will also increase the market share of Indonesian fishery products because they are caught using environmentally friendly fishing gear,” explained Marketing Director of PT. Inti Lautan Fajar Abadi Lenny Danuseputro.
The same thing was conveyed by the Purchasing Manager of Indonesia Anova Food USA Bas Zaunbrecher. “Food safety is a very important factor. We provide food safety assurance for our customers by purchasing products from certified manufacturers. As an importer of processed fish products, we are always committed to supporting sustainable fisheries," said Bas.
Ultimately, certification and ecolabeling aim to maintain the sustainability of the fisheries sector. “Certification and ecolabeling create market-based incentives to encourage better fisheries management and open up opportunities to increase the access of our fishery products to developed countries' markets. Our collaboration with fishing companies, which are supported by more accurate stock data, is expected to be a model that the Indonesian fishing community can gain economic benefits from better market access by maintaining environmental sustainability and fishery stocks," concluded YKAN Executive Director Herlina Hartanto.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.